1916 Rising hostilities lifted daily to allow feeding of ducks

Gunfire around Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green during the 1916 Rising was stopped every day to allow for the ducks to be fed.

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was founded in 1840, has brought out a historic look back at some of the issues it dealt with 100 years ago.

Park keeper James Kearney would enter the Green daily to feed the waterfowl. Every time he did this, the opposing sides of the Irish Citizen Army and the British forces would cease firing to allow him to do so.

The British forces were based in the Shelbourne Hotel, while the insurgents were at the College of Surgeons, both located at different sides of the Green.

The charity’s annual report recorded that it awarded Mr Kearney a parchment certificate for bravely feeding the waterfowl under fire.

The award was presented to him by the then commissioners of public works.

The report shows that the ducks and other water animals were well fed throughout the Rising and were, it states, “very little perturbed by the bullets flying over their heads”.

Mr Kearney remained working in the Green throughout the Rising, risking his life to look after his feathered friends.

For regular updates on news and features (as well as twitter action action as it may have happened 100 years ago) to mark the revolutionary period follow @theirishrev HERE

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals report also showed that its headquarters at the time, which was located along Grand Canal Quay beside Boland’s Bakery, was taken over by the insurgents and all the animals were let go.

Leader Éamon de Valera and his C Company, however, showed great sympathy towards the animals, according to the report, feeding them until all foodstuff ran out. They then released all cats, dogs, and horses on the city streets.

A spokeswoman for the charity, Gillian Bird, said: “Due to the pending Easter celebrations we thought it would be interesting to go through our records of 1916. We found numerous reports and documents relating to the Rising and what happened to animals.

“It really makes for interesting reading and shows us the pressures the charity was under which is not something many people would be aware of.”

For regular updates on news and features (as well as twitter action action as it may have happened 100 years ago) to mark the revolutionary period follow @theirishrev HERE


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